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The campus of the University of Nevada, Reno. Photo courtesy University of Nevada, Reno.

The University of Nevada, Reno has been in discussions with the Eldorado Resorts regarding the possibility of using the Circus Circus Hotel’s “Sky Tower” for student housing in the 2019-2020 school year. 

University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson discussed the plan during a Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents special meeting on Friday. The university’s search for a space to accommodate 1,300 students began after two of its student dormitories, Argenta Hall and Nye Hall, were damaged in two explosions on July 5. 

The first explosion occurred during maintenance to a boiler in the basement of Argenta Hall, causing a gas line to be severed. Less than ten minutes later, a second, larger explosion occurred, causing major damage to the buildings, including the student dining hall. Six students and two Reno firefighters were treated for minor injuries sustained during the explosions, according to the Reno Gazette Journal. 

“This particular tower would be rebranded to the university,” Johnson said. “It will only occupy university students, under our proposal, our students and employees. And the public will have no access to this tower.” 

He said that students in the “interim hall” will have access to the same staff as those living in the traditional dorms, including resident assistants and academic mentors, and that the university’s shuttle service would be extended to the tower. He also said that “Wolf Pack Tower” would have around-the-clock security with keycards that students and staff could use to gain access to the building.

The blast at the beginning of July also damaged the Downunder Café, a dining facility located on the bottom floor of Argenta Hall. 

Johnson said that the Overlook Café, as well as temporary structures, would be used for student dining. He compared the structures to ones used at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. 

“We will bring in a prefabricated module kitchen dining area, which will be located by Great Basin residence hall, in early August,” Johnson said. “By November, the interim dining facility will then move to a sprung structure facility near Thompson Hall and Jot Travis building.”

The buildings have been closed since the explosion. According to an announcement by the university, Argenta Hall is expected to reopen in the fall of 2021. Nye Hall is expected to be in use again by Fall 2020.

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